AKB48’s next single, entitled “Give Me Five!”, will see members playing their own instruments – for the first time – in an 18-member big band unit Baby Blossom, the eminent Japanese idol group announced yesterday evening at the end of their Request Hour Set List Best 100 concert, streamed live on YouTube. The song was performed for the encore.

The 18-piece band consists of six core members – Atsuko Maeda (rhythm guitar), Minami Takahashi (lead guitar), Yuko Oshima (bass guitar), Yuki Kashiwagi (drums), Haruna Kojima and Mayu Watanabe (both on keyboards) – as well as an ensemble cast of 12 others sorted into horns, percussions, and chorus squads (see the full list below).

AKB48 Live – Give Me Five (Request Hour 2012) by yic17

A secret project, members selected for Baby Blossom were first told about being part of the big band unit right after  they wrapped up a live concert on August 28 last year.

With just five short months to prepare for the official unveiling last evening, the members have had to take much time off their respective schedules to coordinate practice sessions and train hard. Especially since only three members – Oshima, Rino Sashihara, and Rena Matsui – have had any prior experience with playing musical instruments.

“When everybody gives it everything they’ve got, there’s nothing you can’t achieve. That’s what I believe,” the group’s overall captain Minami Takahashi said on-stage after the performance last night.

“To be honest, I made a few slight mistakes [during my guitar solo]. But in the end, the expression of pride and satisfaction I wore on my face was genuinely heartfelt … I’m still trembling from the performance.”

Takahashi was not the only one reeling from the performance’s after-effects.

“Yukirin (Kashiwagi) beat the drums so hard that she’s got abdominal pains!” Oshima revealed.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” Kashiwagi added.

AKB48’s 25th single, Give Me Five! goes on sale in Japan on February 15. Four different CD jacket designs – featuring Baby Blossom members doing all sorts of cool poses – are available. Two of these designs has Atsuko Maeda as the center, while the other two are themed around Yuko Oshima.

Limited edition, Type-A. The rest of the covers can be found here.


Full list of Baby Blossom members


Atsuko Maeda (rhythm guitar)
Minami Takahashi (lead guitar)
Yuko Oshima (base)
Yuki Kashiwagi (drum)
Mayu Watanabe (keyboard)
Haruna Kojima (keyboard)
Rino Sashihara (trombone)
Minami Minegishi (trombone)
Rena Matsui (trumpet)
Yui Yokoyama (trumpet)
Mariko Shinoda (tambourine)
Tomomi Itano (shaker)
Jurina Matsui (percussion)
Sae Miyazawa (chorus)
Rie Kitahara (chorus)
Aki Takajou (chorus)
Tomomi Kasai (chorus)
Sayaka Yamamoto (chorus)

For more pictures of the Request Hour Set List Best 100 concert which took place from January 18 to 22, check out Oricon Style’s photo gallery here. Each of the four yellow tabs on top represent a different concert day (e.g. 76th to 100th was from the 18th Jan performance).

Sources: Oricon Style, Asahi

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